For years: it was supposed to serve as a safe haven for abused and abandoned children. But on Tuesday foster parent who cared for hundreds of children in his home was charged with sexual abuse. The allegations are causing outrage and downright disgust across Boone County.
Johnny Likens is now facing three felony charges. He is accused of sexually abusing two young boys and a 4 year old girl all of who lived in his home. The worry now is that these children are part of a long list of victims in a case of broken trust.
In Likens yard there were toys in the yard and signs all around that this is a place where children live. But police say this foster home: was no safe haven. Boone County Sheriff Rodney Miller says "most of my career they've been housing abused and neglected foster children”. Now Johnny Likens is accused of abusing the very children he was supposed to love and protect!
According to a criminal complaint “Likens confessed to having sexual contact with 3 children and all 3 were living with him at the time."
“Working under the premise of taking in children with the promise of giving them a better life and offending them like this it certainly adds to it” said Sheriff Miller.
The victims in this case are now in state custody but the concern here is huge because police say Johnny Likens was a foster parent for years and brought as many as 1,800 children into his home!
The emotional toll the news is taking on neighbors is undeniable. Judy Baisden is one of Likens neighbors she says "I’m just overwhelmed”.
Folks who saw the kids every day...and had no idea what may have been going on behind closed doors. Police call it a case of broken trust: neighbors call it a case of broken hearts.
"John's always been nice to me...and i never knew of him doing anything wrong...so I hate it...I hate it” says Mrs. Baisden.
Police will now begin the daunting task of going through hundreds of records and tracking down children who stayed in likens home over the years. Some neighbors we talked with say they did see signs of neglect and they wish they had reported the problems sooner.
This is the first time these kind of allegations have been made against likens...but police say now that he's under arrest... They expect more victims to come forward.